Team Sky’s Mark Cavendish claimed his third win of this year’s Giro d’Italia with a dominant triumph on stage 13.
His Team Sky team-mates had been prominent for much of the short 121 kilometres stage from Savona and were on the front when it mattered coming into the finish in Cervere. They took it up from Saxo Bank with 1.5km to go on the long finishing straight, though Orica-GreenEDGE burst to the head of affairs inside the final 400m as they looked to tee up Matthew Goss.
But Cavendish kept his nerve superbly, first latching onto the wheel of Robbie Hunter (Garmin-Barracuda) and then briefly checking his sprint until the gap came. When it did the response was instant as the world champion accelerated up the inside and quickly settled it, crossing the line more than a bike length in front of Alexander Kristoff (Katusha), with Mark Renshaw (Rabobank) in third.
The victory, his 10th individual stage at the Giro, extended his lead in the points classification race. He now has 106 points, to Goss’ 75. Mark Cavendish said afterwards “I’m really, really happy and it’s nice to finally get another win. The guys just rode their hearts out again today and I’m so, so proud. After they did that I had to win; I had to find some gap to get through. It was just a question of waiting for that moment and then taking my chance. It was a headwind finish which probably played into my hands a little bit after leaving it late.”
[Reflecting on his heavy crash on the third stage] “I came into the Giro in really good form and ideally I’d have liked to have been able to kind of relax through the first week but the crash changed all that. It took me a week to really fully recover and get my legs back again. The guys are really looking after me though; they are keeping me protected throughout the stages which is perfect and I want to go to Milan and win the points jersey.”
Steven de Jongh, Team Sky Sports Director: “It was a bit nervous in the car for us but Mark kept really calm, the gap opened up he showed fantastic acceleration. In the lead-out our guys waited and waited, using Saxo Bank really well when they moved to the front. And then GreenEDGE came really fast but in the end Mark took the victory and in sprinting sometimes you have to profit from other teams.”